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From: "Pat or Cassidy or Jeff" <>
Date: Fri Nov 3, 2006 5:01 pm
Subject: Wrong Side Of The Bed..

The only thing happy and bright in the kitchen at Station 51,
was the sunlight pouring through the early dawn windows.

"Say, Roy?" came a sleepy voice from the other side of
the sun soaked overfull eating table.

"Yeah.." said DeSoto, frowning in concentration as he carefully
placed and organized items from the squad's drug box out
onto the table. Syringes, vials and needles were lined up
row by row in front of him and his monthly inventory sheet.

"I'll give you twenty bucks if you take over writing this week's runs
in the fire station log book for me." Gage frowned, still cracking
open a crusty eye over his steaming, untouched coffee mug.
"I honestly think... I won't be able remember them all."

Roy grinned, peering myopically at his notation slate. "Six one hundred
milligram syringes of Thiamine, two bottles of nitro... Johnny, in all
fairness, that's not my chore or problem today. It's yours. I've got enough
of a headache for one morning updating our drug box to Dr. Brackett's
new expectations."

Johnny's reaction was mild, where he still slumped shirtless in his
chair. "No, I really mean it. How many calls did we get last night?"

Hank Stanley came whistling into the rec room and immediately
stopped in his tracks, pegging Gage with a glare for still being out
of uniform.

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Wordlessly, Johnny reached around a shoulder and grabbed his
ironed shirt from where it had been draped over the back of his chair
and waved it in the air in self defense. "It's right here, Cap. I'm set for
another call. My helmet's even been polished. Did that a couple of
hours ago after that pregnant lady puked all over it." he mumbled,
"Or was it right after back from the....last fire call.." he yawned.
"Or?...Wasn't our most recent an MVA?" he blinked in surprised

Chet Kelly, walking by on his way for the coffee pot while he buttoned
up his shirt after his sixth shower of the morning, made a face."Boy, are
you off today. We had a cardiac, Gage. A street bum, lying in his soggy
*ss cardboard box right where the cops found him on the corner of
Macalester and Franklin."

Johnny frowned, still ignoring his caffeine source. "Did he live?"

Roy sighed in irritation.
"Yeah, he lived. We got his PSVT back down to normal with just a little
adenosine." Then DeSoto bit his lip, cursing softly under his breath.
"Oh, d*mn. Johnny, I think we forgot to replace that when we picked up
supplies last hour."

Johnny reached into the open still unpacked I.V. case and pulled out a
new box of Adenocard. "I remembered. I never forget a supply item.
Habit built up from dealing with the endless parade of psycho supply
nurses we've gone through at Rampart over the last five years."

"Oh, that's just terrific, pal. I'll take that." said Roy sarcastically as he
grabbed it out of his partner's fingers. "Next time, put it back where it
belongs when you get handed a new one. Now I gotta start my work sheet
all over again. And these carbons, too. I thought I was done inventorying
all the cardiac meds."

Chet grinned. "Are you sure it's not like you said, Roy? That it's not your

"Kelly, you hush up." said Cap, from over his newspaper. "Or you'll be on
the rosters come Monday for updating the fire logs instead of Johnny."

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Kelly wisely kept quiet and he hid behind the couch long enough to
scratch Boot behind the ears where the dog lay dead to the world. ::Huh.
Even Boot's tired from getting all worked up and barking in excitement every
time we've gotten a call out.::

"Chet, why don't you make yourself useful and go get the address notes out
of the squad for Gage." Hank added, without looking up.

"Aw, Cap. They're scattered all over the passenger cab, full of I.V. tape
or held down with post it notes. A few of them are probably even....stuck on
the bottom of Johnny's shoes or something because he was dumb enough
to keep stepping on the pile he's still got lying in the middle of the floor."
Kelly complained.

"Chet, take it as a gentle request if it pleases you to think it wasn't an order.
Then go get him the log book out of my office with a couple of pencils. Make
sure nothing's got ink in it." Hank said no nonsense.

"Thanks a lot, Cap." Johnny minced, finally burning his mouth on a large gulp
of his coffee. "Your faith in my penmanship ability is astounding.. AH! Owww."

"It's not your writing I'm worried about. It's the accuracy. You said it yourself
that you'd be a little absent minded today when it came to recalling rescue
details." Cap shrugged. "Marco, go grab him some ice and water for that
scald of his. Last thing I want to see is him moaning about being in pain as

"Right, Cap." said Lopez, getting up off the couch for the frig. "Roy, I'll get it.
Don't get up." he said, slowing down as he passed by the table so the wind
from his body didn't blow DeSoto's carefully crafted notes off the table.

Johnny miserably accepted one of the popiscles Marco handed him that the
firemen usually kept for hurt kids coming to the station. He unpackaged it,
and put it onto his scorched tongue without looking at it. He made an
immediate face when the flavor of grape knee hi startled him. "Yuck!
Aren't there any banana ones left? There were six of them left in there last
night." Then he opened narrowed eyes, looking for a popiscle thief.
Gage's lips tightened when Kelly began to sink down behind the couch again.
"Oh, Chet. How could you? These things are only supposed to be for injuries."

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"Oh, really? In that case, we'd be buying up a whole ice cream truck's worth
of them just for you, due to your poor-staying-healthy-while-on-the-job track record.
Quit being such a klutz with hot coffee all the time and maybe the rest of us won't
be forced to keep eating them all behind your back out of sheer frustration."

Cap's eyebrows went up over the newspaper and immediately, Chet beelined
for the vehicle bay to carry out his Cap-ordered instructions to the letter.

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Date: Wed, 8 Nov 2006 07:19:35 -0800 (PST)
From: "Sam Iam" <>  
Subject:  The Best Defense...

Roy felt probing eyes watching him as he made his way out to the
garage half an hour later. He turned around on instinct in midwalk
and discovered that he had gained a four legged shadow, one who
was tailing him patiently.

"Hiya, boy." he said to the shaggy station dog. "Nothing's gonna
turn out fun or even be terribly interesting here. Maybe you
oughta go find Chet and see what he's up to. Nobody's seen him
since Cap let loose a steam valve."

Boot just continued to sit neatly at his feet in between the
engine and squad, all the while wagging his bushy tail

Roy DeSoto sighed as he finally put away the new drug box into its
storage slot compartment inside the squad. "O.k. suit yourself. Don't
say that I didn't warn you. I'm gonna be boring." he told him. Then he
rubbed his chin, thinking. ::Whew.. I'm glad that's done. Now all I have
to do is add my new notes to the usual fire department manual
pharmaceutical footnotes and then type up a couple of my master copy
inventory sheets for Dr. Brackett and Chief McConnikee to look over.
Shouldn't take too long. Maybe an hour at the most if we don't get any
rescue calls coming in.::

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DeSoto stretched tiredly as he regarded Boot who was still focusing
all of his attention on him to the exclusion of all else. Roy looked around
self consciously. "What?" he asked the dog. "W-Why are you still
bugging me? Are we about to get another squad run or something?"
he asked, glancing at the still darkened klaxon light positioned over
the kitchen door.

Bark! said Boot, still regarding Roy's face mischieviously. Then the
dog disappeared under the engine and dragged out his heavily tooth
shredded chunk of knotted rope. He trotted over to Roy with it in his jaws.

"Oh, so you wanna play. Sorry, Boot. But I'm afraid I'm gonna haveta pass
on your invitation. I'm completely bushed. We've been up since yesterday
morning. Nobody's even slept yet." Yawning, Roy joined Boot by the engine
and moved to sit wearily on the Ward's step runner so he could scrub the
dog's ears affectionately with his hose water chapped hands. "We've gotta
save our energy for folks who really need it, ok?"

Boot looked up and licked his nose once with an understanding whine before
he scrambled off animatedly to go do something else.

Roy felt his eyes growing heavy and he stretched out right where he was
on the long chrome runner board and soon, he started snoring as a too long
delayed sleep claimed him almost immediately.


He awoke with a startled cry when the tones went off right over his head. His
hands slammed down on something hard and meshed that was pressing in
around him as he went to sit up fast. "Ow." he shouted as he sat up in newly
alarm call lit surroundings. His ears were making out the sounds of the rest
of the gang scrambling for their jackets.

"Not for us. Engine call." came Johnny's sleepy voice from somewhere nearby
as L.A. droned out the effected address over the intercom.

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"Oh, *cough* o.k., thanks." Roy blinked and opened bleary eyes in confusion.
Frowning, Roy looked at where he was with light squinted eyes. He found
himself lying in a spare stokes stretcher that had been cast haphazardly
onto the bunk he usually took next to Johnny's. "What the h*ll? Is this you
getting back at me for us guys building you a hanging stokes baby cradle
during your bout of insomnia last year?" he asked angrily.

"No. We just thought you'd be more comfortable lying in your own bed instead
of lying on the engine. You were out so we figured this was the best way
to move you without waking you up from a nap unnecessarily." Johnny told
him, his head still buried under his pillow. "Geesh, of all the ungrateful--"

"Sorry. Thanks, Johnny. Uhhh.. I'm still out of it a little." he said, with all of
his limbs hanging limp and splayed spread eagle outside of the basket
stretcher he lay in.

"So are we all. Join the club." grumbled Gage as he rolled over to his other
deeply blanketed side. "Now shut up so I can get back to sleep."

Roy didn't even fight the suggestion. His eyes closed and moments later
he was out like a light for the second time as soon as the real ones finally
extinguished themselves after the engine's call out had completed.
Reigning silence took over the bunk room as it was returned to its
previous state of shade pulled darkness.


##Engine 51. Garbage fire at the dump. 1304 South 5th Street. 1304 South
5th Street. Cross street Main. Time out: 11: 56.##

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Hank Stanley winced when he and the others staggered out of the bunk room
and into the bright noon time daylight streaming into the bay as the garage doors
automatically slid open to release them. He had to grab twice at the mic in the
alcove to give his acknowledgement as he arm covered his watering eyes as
they got used to the strong sunlight around them. "L.A. Engine 51. 10-4. KMG

He climbed into the cab next to Mike Stoker who already had his helmet on.
"Mike, is this Mac Donner's operation again?"

"Yep. This is the third garbage fire he's had this month." replied the engineer
as he glanced into the rear view mirror as the others piled in.

"Glad it's gonna be his last." Stanley growled. "The state gets to close
him down now for ignoring multiple fire violations and a court summons."

In the back, Chet was struggling into his seat belt.
"Aghh! I was in the middle of the best dream I've had in weeks. Boy is
this kook gonna get a piece of my mind. I'm gonna--" Chet began.

"Chet, we don't need another citizen's complaint filed against the fire department
for mouthing off. No matter how well intentioned. You're gonna hold your tongue."
Hank said no nonsense. But then his face grinned slightly. "But on the other hand,
we all know how unpredictable old hoses sometimes get. Who can say when
one of 'em might burst open into a million pieces."

"Hey..., yeahhh. Can't blame us if it happens near a property owner after he's
gotten too close into our faces while interfering with a fire call." Marco smiled.

Stanley set his face into an even line. "O.k. Let's rig up that second unnecessary
hose. Guys, you know which one."

"The one on the bottom of the hose bed we've been conveniently forgetting to
change out just so we could nail this bozo someday?" Stoker chuckled.

"That's the one." Cap nodded. "But you didn't hear it from me." he winked.

"This will so be worth getting completely soaked to the skin this time." Kelly

"Remember, it's all gotta look like it's an 'accident.' " Cap said ironically.
"So there'll be nothing for which we can get legally pegged. Especially if
the cops wanna be there to oversee our fire for gathering their final evidence
to invoke Mac's official property condemnation."

"We're the best in the county, Cap, or so you keep telling us." Stoker said,
rounding the Ward into another turn on the boulevard. "Relax and enjoy
the view. We promise that Mac'll never see it coming." and he cracked his
knuckles over the engine's steering wheel.

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From: "chameleonkate01" <>
Date: Thu Nov 9, 2006 8:59 am
Subject: Right In Your Own Back Yard..

Roy and Johnny awoke to the sounds of all the showers turning
on in the bathroom.

::They're back.:: Roy thought. DeSoto looked at his watch. ::That
didn't take long. I wonder how pointless that fire call really was.::

He sat up about the same time as Gage and stretched, sitting yoga
style in the stokes that the gang had given to him while he slept.  

Johnny yawned, eyeing up the steam drifting across the ceiling from
the shower room. "How's your back after that thing?" he frowned in

Roy blinked a few times, self analyzing while rubbing an eye.
"Great, actually. Always figured there was a reason they designed
these things the way they did. C-spine protection, huh? It works.."
Roy mumbled. "Did you sleep any? You still look whacked."

"Yeah." Johnny replied. Then his wristwatch shot up to his face.
"About an hour. Just enough to take the edge off I guess."

A loud audible growl rumbled into the air between them.

"Was that your stomach?!" Roy chuckled.

Gage shot to his feet, not bothering to help Roy as he struggled to
untangle himself from his sheets and the stokes. "Maybe. It is after
lunch time. And I'm starving. Who's turn is it to cook today?"


"I wonder what he got from the grocery store." Johnny wondered,
slowly shuffling past the desk, heading for a sink so he could wash
his face.

"Probably something meat and potatoes, like usual." DeSoto said,
finally standing.  

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"Let's hope so. I could use a meal with a 'hearty' label." Johnny sighed.

Bark! said a bedspread covered Boot from the vicinity of Chet's bed.

Both paramedics startled badly. They hadn't been expecting Boot to be
anywhere else but under the kitchen table or the engine, while he took
a snooze like he always did around station mealtimes.

Roy recovered first. "Huh. Guess someone else got a little tired, too."

Gage leaned on the doorway for support while he waited for his pounding
heart to settle down. "If I faint in a few seconds, don't wake me up again.
This whole day's been an absolute nightmare. I could use the sudden

Roy frowned, scratching an itch under his T-shirt while he sleepily
figured out what arm to put into which hole in his uniform shirt. "It has been
a harrowing day. First the bad delivery, then the alley bum coronary, and
all those cat-in-a-tree calls."

"Please don't remind me." Gage moaned.

Roy didn't hear him. He went on with his thoughts. "...Not to mention all
the dumpster and garbage fires the rest of the guys seem to be getting.
I think that last one was their ninth since yesterday morning."

"Ouch... That many already? Cap's gonna be a bear thinking about
all that wasted tax payer money. We'd better watch out." Johnny told him.

Just then, Hank Stanley entered the dark bunkroom in a shower towel
and waved up the lights, laughing up a storm as he scrubbed his clean
hair dry with another towel. The rest of the gang came out of the steaming
bathroom on his heels, and they were just as unexplicably happy.

Gage and Roy looked at each other mutely, their mouths hanging open.
Finally, Johnny tempted the devil. "Uh, how'd it go guys?"

"Great man! It was a sheer masterpiece." Kelly crowed.

"Yeah, one of the best knock downs I've ever seen. Nice work fellas."
said Cap, patting the toweling off Marco, Stoker and Chet on the back
in congratulations.

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"The way the fire was put out?" Johnny asked incredulously, perching
his boxer shorted butt onto the desk near the bathroom door.

Roy agreed with his puzzled partner. "Yeah, I thought this was a trash fire.
Those are usually kinda messy to handle any way you slice it."

"No, guys." said Stoker. "We're talking about the way Mac Donner went
down after the marked hose KO'd him. He landed right in the middle of a
mud puddle. It was so sweet."

Johnny's lightbulb finally came on. "Oh, so we finally got our long
plotted instant revenge for all our dumb responses to Mac's place
to put out all of his illegal burns?"

"And how. Looks like ol' Donner's a goner. And so's his junk yard."
replied Marco, sliding into his pants.

Cap nodded, his eyes twinkling. "Yep. The cops sided with us this
time. Permanently." said Hank.

Johnny collapsed into the desk chair and spun the goose neck lamp
around gleefully. "Man! It's about time he was put out of business.
All I can say is that bit of news sure feels good. Makes me kinda wish
I could've been there to see that secret hose trap finally get sprung."

"Go see Vince. He was there. He'll tell it better." said Chet, pulling on his
socks. He ignored Boot's attempts to nose his way out from under the
bedspreads where his butt was pinning them down. "You snooze on my
bunk, lose, Boot. Now you gotta wait until I'm done to get out from
under there." he told the shoving blanketed lump.

They all heard a snort as Boot finally gave up blanket opening seeking
as he re-collapsed back down again behind Chet's bare back to sulk.

Stanley clapped his hands together. "Ok, I'm gonna go fix us all some
lunch to celebrate. Who's gonna help me?" he asked brightly.

The rest of the guys melted into the shadows, feigning being tied up with
the serious business of getting back into their uniforms, or making their

Roy was the only one who remained attentive. "A chore assignment
given is a chore assignment taken, Cap. Your own rules." he shrugged.

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Cap pursed his lips, suddenly thoughtful."Guess that one's not such
a good one any more, eh? Why not?"

"Because it's one of McConnikee's. Kinda dampens the cooperative spirit.
You saw the effects of it right there." said DeSoto, turning to make his bed.
He sidled around Cap afterwards with the spare stokes in both hands to
go put it away.

"Ok, I'll make a few changes on next week's roster to fix that." said Hank,
as he followed DeSoto out into the bay.

Captain Stanley popped the main door open so they could clear out
the extra humidity from the locker room. "Smell that fresh air."

"Nice. No brush fires to speak of." Roy agreed.

The two firefighters whirled when they heard eager claws scrabbling on
the concrete behind them as Boot made a beeline for the outside. He
skidded to a halt by the flagpole as he quickly lifted his leg to p*e on

"Oops." said Cap, making his way out to Boot's side to pet him in apology
once he was through relieving himself. "Sorry, boy. Guess we forgot to
let you out this morning." said Hank, balancing on squatted toes in the
driveway. He saw that DeSoto hadn't followed him. ::He must be coffee
bound.:: Cap decided.

A muffled boom shook the air and knocked him onto his butt. Instinctively,
Hank grabbed Boot into his arms and huddled protectively over him as
bits of debris and burning embers coated his shirt's back and hair. He
swept them off himself and the dog instantly once the realization of
suddenly falling under fire danger sank in.

Cap looked up in horror as a spreading cloud of black oily soot and shooting
flames suddenly engulfed one of the Arco refinery's pumping towers across
the street. Its cone of destruction started climbing high into the verdant blue

He scrambled to his feet once the concussion had passed."Roy! Guys?!
Anybody! Call in a Priority Code Red! There's fire at the arco plant!
Something's blowing up over there big time!"

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From :  Patti or Jeff or Cassidy <>
Sent :  Thursday, November 16, 2006 7:42 PM
Subject :  The Rising H*ll...

Mike Stoker shouted from the bay, an HT already perched on
his shoulder. "Cap, where are they gonna stage us?"

Stanley swung his head once more over the bouvelard as
he began walking backwards up the driveway, hastening
Boot back into the station with a sweeping gesture. "Let me
figure that out." Hank bit his lip in apprehension as he studied the
brand new smoke plume. "Huh,..Looks like everything might be
involving the compressor pipes pumping gasoline to the Shell
oil distribution terminal!" he decided, shouting loudly to Mike.
"Looks like the westmost main pipe juncture hub's blown. That's
gotta be very near one of the holding tanks. Looks like flames
are almost touching number twelve."

"Twelve's heavy crude, Cap. That one's filled with three million
gallons at the most on the weekends. Southeast at three
quarters of a mile it is." replied Stoker. "I'll park us upwind."

Hank nodded when he saw the rest of the gang piling into
the vehicles. "L.A. might turn the station into a command post,
gang, so leave the big doors popped open. Boot can keep out
anyone not allowed in. We'll know more once Chief Conrad's
been updated. Let's get to Alameda along 405's bridge to get
to a better vantage point. Most likely we'll only be starting the
evacuations for now until we're told more about what's going on."

Overhead from the bay speakers, and through their vehicle radios,
L.A. droned out assignments. ##Division One, Battalions 1 and 4.
Trucks 246, 18, 99,.. Foam units 5, 127, 14 and 205...Stations 51,
110, 24 and 8,.. respond to a fourth alarm at the Arco Oil Refinery's
west end Catacarb terminal in Carson. 1700 Pacific Coast Highway
and Wilmington. 1700 Pacific Coast Highway and Wilmington.
Cross street, San Diego Freeway, 405. Time out : 13:31.##

They all heard Battalion Chief number 4, Conrad, report in. ##L.A.,
Battalion Four on Tach Two. Give me a second rundown on all
mobilized equipment.##

L.A. dutifully repeated the called out units.

Marco sighed from his seat in the engine. "Why do these fires seem like
they only break out at the biggest Complex oil refineries in the area?" he
complained, pulling on his helmet as he got into the Ward La France
as fast as he could.

Mike shrugged. "Maybe it's because they've more exposed works that
can get fouled up during processing." he said, turning the ignition.

Chet thought out loud. "Didn't Carson West just get those additional
experimental units to crack the heavy gas, oils and distillate oils into
lighter forms of that funky new kind of higher octane fuel the county's
eventually switching over to?"

"They sure did. And those are located right near where the fire is." Cap
grumbled. Inwardly, he began hating all over again the looming fire
fighting tactical problems the refinery always raised in their monthly
station meetings.

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##Cap, I'm afraid it'll be an even bigger headache than we're figuring,
once we get over there.## Johnny said over the radio as both trucks
pushed through the panicking traffic careening on the avenue, and
started heading for their destination.

##Oh?.. How so?## Hank radioed back.

##I read they put in a new pipeline last month running aviation fuel to
LAX directly.## Johnny toggled back.

"Terrific..." Hank frowned, never taking his eye off the smoke billowing
up and spreading out over Arco.

A few minutes later, they had arrived. Hank could see two oil depot
trucks fleeing the area. "Stoker, cut off one of those escaping drivers.
Let's see if we can get an insider's report and any casualty figures."

Stoker blasted on the engine's airhorn and waggled the Ward in their
lane as the squad did the same thing in front of another truck hauler as
the four vehicles met each other, going in opposite directions on the
empty, commuter deserted freeway.

The closest fuel trucker squealed tires into a near panicked instant
halt, after he understood the fire department's unspoken visual message.
He got out of his turned off truck with a nervous glance back at the
ominously rumbling, blast stricken refinery as he ran over to Captain

The gang immediately noticed that he was covered head to foot
in crude oil and tiny metal fragments. Explosive dust.

"Mister, are you hurt?" Hank asked, grabbing the man by the shoulders
after he climbed down out of the Ward's cab.

"No.. *gasp* Steve and I.... we...had to drive under a ruptured line
to get our loads outta there before they blew up, too." said the man.
"I'm just wet from the leak. I'm not burned."

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"All right. Ok. But we're gonna check you out anyway. Come over here."
Cap sat the man down on the engine's runner. "What's the product
involved in the fire? Anyone else hurt?" he asked, guessing correctly that
the man was lying about his true condition when the trucker almost
toppled over without seeming to realize that he was feeling dizzy.

Mike Stoker held him up with a supporting glove against his chest
and started taking the trucker's pulse at the wrist.

Hank looked up as Roy and Johnny laid their own tanker driver down onto
the ground next to the squad. Roy shouted. "He's ok, Cap.." shouted
DeSoto, from where he was huddled over the man. "Just a little smoke

"Mine's got bumps and bruises. His breathing's fine." Hank fired back.

"Ok.." replied Gage, breaking out some oxygen for the first man.
"One of us will be right there."

Stanley's victim coughed and started shivering in reaction as he
answered Cap's question. "N-Nobody else as far as I know, past my
friend. It's.. light grade gasoline getting treated with the company's
usual oxygenate, methyl tertiary butyl-ether." He nodded gratefully
when Marco wrapped him in a warm woolen blanket.

Hank swore softly. "MTBE.. I'll be glad when that finally gets phased
out and replaced with clean ethanol next year."

The trucker went on with his account.
"My manager said a hydroskimming juncture in one of the desulfurization
processing units suddenly froze up on his monitor. My guess is that
fumes must've ...built up in one of the basic topping units and ruptured
a relief valve." The oil soaked man's face fell open in shock. "Oh, my
G*d. Did the spark plugs on somebody's truck set off the initial
explosion that took out our oil's transferring line?"

"Anything could have triggered that, sir. Absolutely anything. Static
electricity... A hammer's blow... Maybe even an unknown chemical
reaction. We may never find out what actually started this fire
because of all the heat involved so don't start pointing fingers at
any fellow truckers just yet." Hank smiled. "It's probably not gonna
end up being your fault."

The man in Cap's arms slumped against the fire engine and he finally
let Stoker wipe the oil out of his eyes with a gauze pad as the engineer
quickly examined him for problems. Stoker reported the man's vitals.
"Cap, pulse's 130 but regular. Respirations are 22. He's got just a small
cut on the top of his head. There's a piece of metal embedded inside.
I've pretty much stopped the bleeding from it."

"Ok. I'll pass that along." Hank replied.

The trucker started crying with dry eyes. "I ...we..did what Marve
told us to do after all the sh*t hit the fan. He snapped out our emergency
orders from the manual and then we just concentrated on getting all our
fuel trucks way the h*ll out of there. These two are the last to leave."

"Marve's your manager? Where is he now?" Hank asked, looking up
at the spreading fiery mess the pipe leak was making of that part of the

"I don't know. I don't know... Ah..." he rubbed his grease covered forehead,
thinking hard. "Last thing I heard was.. *gasp* Yeah. Marve said that he
was going to go up into one of the distillation towers to see if it had
taken on any damage.."

Hank sighed in frustration at the news. He lifted his HT to his mouth.
"Engine 51, Battalion 4. An employee has just reported that
a refinery manager may have gotten himself trapped inside one
of the cooling towers in the immediate hot zone. He says the fire's
directly involving the west side depot's pumping terminal currently
running off tank number twelve. In jeopardy is straight crude oil and
light gasoline treated with MTBE. All the terminal's manned fuel
transportation trucks have been evacuated."

##Battalion Four, Engine 51. 10-4. What's your current status?##

Image of battalion10or4.jpg Image of arcoroyjmandowntreatbysquadwitness.jpg

"We're with two minor injuries on a pair of truckers. Both conscious."
said Stanley.

##Engine 51, I'm sending in Squad 8 to take over for Squad 51.
They'll finish handling your victims. I need you and all of your men
to get into air bottles and go find that lost man. You're closest.
According to Arco's head spokesperson, he's the only one missing.
If you deem the risk is too great, at no time do I want your station crew
or vehicles to enter the fire zone. I have Aircrane Helitanker 47 in route
in about one to do an initial recon to determine our overall burn situation.
He'll be directly visualizing your search and rescue attempt from the air.
The pilot's on HT channel Tach One and he is in a communication's
relay to us. I have Truck 127 going in with you for foaming cover.## said
Chief Conrad. ##Command Post is located at your station house.##

"Engine 51, Battalion 4, your orders are understood. Squad 8 is now
on scene. We're clearing." said Hank into the radio as he watched
Johnny and Roy trade oxygen apparatuses and care notes with the
paramedics from the second rescue squad. One of the new fire medics
jogged over to Mike and led the dazed trucker away over to his medical
gear so Station 51 could drive off. He wished them luck with a couple
of superstitious knuckle raps over the number on his helmet.

"We're gonna need it." said Chet as he watched eight's crew recede into
the distance. They heard the squad's called in ambulance going by the
other way long before they ever saw it through the thickening smoke.

Ahead of them, they could see tongues of flames shooting hundreds
of feet up into the air under a dark and dense rising mushroom cloud.  
It was prevented from dispersing by an air inversion's capping effect.

The fireman knew that all flights were now being diverted away from
the airport for the duration of the fire.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't really scared right now." admitted Marco
out loud to the others in the engine. He could only marvel at Roy's
bravado as the squad ahead of them sped up even faster as they
approached the monster fire.

"That's all good. That'll just make you careful." encouraged Cap. He
too, was swallowing around a pair of dry lips as they drew closer to
the melting, ignited depot.

"Yeah, we're all gonna be scared half to death in there." repeated
Marco, as he put on his air bottle and tightened all of its straps.

Kelly gulped then, suddenly as seriously calm as was possible for
him. "Fellas? What happens if you get scared half to death twice?" he
mumbled through his flowing air mask.


Dixie McCall walked into the nurse's lounge whistling happily. She was
about to get in a whole fifteen minutes communing with a coffee pot.

As she entered, she saw Kel Brackett seated on the couch in his street
clothes. "Kel.." she said. "I thought you went off duty ten minutes ago.
Why are you still here? You should be at home already." she chuckled
pulling down her favorite mug from the back wall full of them next
to the fruit vending machines. Then the smile wiped off her face when
she saw that the cigarette in between his fingers hadn't yet been alighted.

Dr. Brackett barely afforded his head nurse the slightest glance.
He pointed to the television set that was turned on before him."That's
why." he told her, indicating a news broadcast currently showing live video
being taken from a news reporting helicopter that was circling high over
somewhere close to the hospital. "Looks like most of the Carson refinery's
going up into smoke. Won't be long before all of us off duty are notified
of this in a full blown hospital wide disaster call."

"I thought I smelled something new in the air eating lunch outside in the
cafeteria. Guess it was wishful thinking on my part to believe that stench
was just magnified smog due to the still air weather inverting overhead."
Dixie sighed. "Want me to get the ball rolling?"

"In a minute. First, I want to learn how many casualties we're likely to get."
said Brackett as he turned up the volume as a couple of interns piled
into the room. He shushed them quiet with a hiss, pointing. They gathered
in around the nurse and doctor right away when Kel beckoned to them.

Thoughtful and worried, Dixie sank down on the cushions next to Kel to
watch the news report a little closer. Her empty coffee mug tumbled out
of her hand and onto the couch, completely forgotten.

The voice from the aging, red tubed tinted television set continued.
##The fire, which police believe was an accident, could burn for days.
Police have advised all civilians not evacuated from the mandatory
two mile radius around the Arco refinery, to keep their windows and doors
closed because of possible toxic fumes. Thick clouds of smoke are
continuing to spread to the north-east and north-west of the site...

##The risk for further explosions remains high. NBC's Gavin Hewitt said
about 100 firefighters are waiting to attack the blaze. Fire chiefs are
consulting with oil industry experts about the safety of using millions of
gallons of fire retardant foam to quell the blaze. Fire Chief Conrad was
noted a few minutes ago to say they needed to know they had enough
foam before they could even begin to fight the fire...

##An Arco spokesman has said there is no indication yet on whether or
not the explosion will cause fuel shortages and the police are
warning the public against panic-buying...

##Meanwhile samples of smoke are being taken to determine the long
term effects of exposure, if any, according to Dr. Joe Early, one of
the head physicians at Rampart General Hospital....##

Image of arcodownwind.jpg Image of arcosmokeplumeshot.jpg

Kel shifted uncomfortably. "Joe's already in on this?!"

"Shh, I want to hear what he has to say, Kel. Now shush." said Dixie.

Kel moused down, still held by an intense concern over the unfolding
dangerous situation.

On the TV, it was disconcerting to see a live report broadcasting from
the ER entrance that they both knew was just outside the nurse's lounge

The silver haired doctor smiled into the camera. ##...however, what I
want to restate is that those people who are most at risk right now in
Carson, are those people who have inhaled the smoke.The small particles
in the smoke, which contained hydrocarbons, can be an irritant but they
have extremely low toxicity and are not expected to cause any long-term
harm.  As long as it doesn't rain, the smoke in the atmosphere won't
come down tonight or even, by morning. Myself and the rest of the hospital
staff are well prepared to handle any medical cases or injuries related
to the fire. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to prepare my staff further.##
said Joe as he pushed past the camera to go back inside the hospital.

With that, the airing story cut over to the news anchor once more.

##At LAX airport, some flights are being forced to delay landings because
of thickening smoke, but Long Beach airport still reports normal operations.##

The view cut over to a sudden interruption on the live helicopter feed behind
the newsman. A spokesman for Arco began to speak as his transmission cut
in... ##We are doing everything we can to support the emergency services
and to bring the situation under control. Had this happened a little later during
the working day, some of these offices you're seeing that have been window
shattered would have been full of people; there is no doubt that this would
have caused dozens of deaths if it hadn't of happened during the middle of
most people's lunch hour. Some early media reports spoke of eight fatalities,
but these are completely and utterly false. All members of the staff from the
terminal have been accounted for, except one. And there is a fire crew
working the site now in an attempt to locate him.##

The man was overwhelmed when others off camera began demanding
questions. There was a brief scuffle as other network reporters closed in
on the man's podium. Seconds later, the TV feed was deftly returned to the

##About 227 schools across the greater Los Angeles County area as well as
libraries and other public buildings are being closed for public safety.
Police and local authorities are advising residents to consult public radio
101.3 FM for up-to-date evacuation information. The Los Angeles County
Fire Department has requested that all schools should be closed within
a 10-mile radius of the incident site, due to concerns involving the smoke
plume and children's health.  

##Ten thousand people or more in the immediate Carson and Wilmington
residential neighborhoods are currently being evacuated from their homes.
Emergency services are asking residents in the more distant smoke-affected
areas to close their windows and doors and stay inside. The Sheriff's
Department is now asking people who have houses with smashed windows
to seek refuge with friends or family nearby if possible.

Image of arcofootballgame.jpg Image of arcoenginestringinghose.jpg

## If you need shelter, agencies are standing by to place you in area hotels,
and shopping centers. Shell, the main operator of the Arco depot, has
set up a helpline for people whose properties have been damaged by
the explosion. They have called in local authorities and the Salvation Army
to provide accommodation or other help for those affected by this
afternoon's refinery explosion... The number to call is...##

Kel Brackett flicked the TV set off. "Let's go, everybody. I've heard enough.
Dixie, make sure the Condition Orange has gone out to all off duty staff.
Turn on the Fire Department's live scanner at the Base Station. I wanna know
about any incoming casualties the moment they do."

"Right, Kel."

"Oh, and Dixie?"


"Get those news reporters out of my ER, stat.  This is a disaster situation. If
they aren't out of here and in the parking lot under two minutes flat, call the
police and have them start making public nuisance arrests for illegal trespass."

"Gladly." said Dixie.

Everyone abandoned the nurse's lounge and began preparing for the worst.

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